For the fourth time in school history, the Warriors were seeking a chance to defend a state title.
Following a 2-1 victory over Oxbridge Academy, the quest for back-to-back championships is still doable. The Warriors (23-7) will play Jacksonville Trinity Christian at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday.
The win was Westminster Christian’s second in a row over Oxbridge at the state tournament, beating the ThunderWolves 4-2 in last year’s finale.
“We’ve never won back-to-back championship,” Westminster coach Scott Doan said. “If we win, it will be our fifth state championship and that’s been in the back of my mind.”
Brooklyn Maguire, who was the winner in last year’s championship game, entered the game in relief of starting pitcher Victoria Perez after Oxbridge closed the deficit to 2-1 with a runner in scoring position and no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Maguire, who will get the start against Trinity on Tuesday, ended the threat with three consecutive outs, striking out Lydia Johnson.
Perez (11-0) earned the win, going four innings, allowing three hits and an earned run with four strikeouts.
“We kind of have been making the change with our pitchers for the past couple of years,” Doan said. “They kind of pick each other up. One will pitch, and if something goes wrong, the next pitcher will have a different variety.”
Westminster Christian got all the runs it needed in the top of the fifth inning.
Isabella Artiles reached on a one-out bunt single. She moved into scoring position on a single by Madison Precht. Both advanced on a double steal.
Artiles scored the first run on an error, and Precht crossed home on a passed ball for a 2-0 lead.
“We had to take advantage of their mistakes,” Precht said. “We have prepared for those things every day of the season. It was a routine play, and I was on top of it.”
The Warriors have prepared for the opportunity to play for another state championship this season.
“We played a real tough schedule, traveling to Las Vegas in a tournament out there,” Doan said. “We have some veteran players back who know what it takes. Our girls are dialed in. This would be our fifth title if we can pull it off, but it will be a tall order.”
The Warriors managed only six hits, with Hailey Donovan leading the way with two hits.
Sophomore pitcher Caridad Estes (11-5) took the loss.